When I was a child, my parents would always have big parties for the May long weekend, which concluded with a fireworks show put on by my dad and his friend on our front lawn. It has been at least 20 years since we’ve done that, so on the occasion of my dad’s 70th birthday, my siblings and I decided to surprise him at the end of his party.
We totally set the scene. We very quickly and with ninja-like finesse moved everyone’s cars and set up lawn chairs in the grass. Our set up got stalled for a few minutes when we opened the box of fireworks and had our minds blown by the size of them! Some of the names had us muttering ‘What are we doing?!’ … quickly followed by ‘This is going to be epic!’
We brought everyone outside, with them still not knowing what was going on, and had the kids do a little dancing around to trick my dad into thinking this was going to be something different. We then brought out the buckets filled with sand and two huge firework rolls sticking out of them ready to go. My brother surprised us all and blasted a soundtrack he had recorded for the event.
My dad’s jaw was wide with amazement and we very proudly lit the first fuse, me holding the flashlight, and RAN! Oh man, that fuse was sparkling and moving so fast that I panicked, screamed like a little girl and dropped the flashlight – but kept running like the thing was going to blow, all the while unintentionally kicking the flashlight with every step! I’m proud to say that my sister had my kids on Skype, who couldn’t travel with me, and they saw the whole thing. Yep … I’m going to enjoy getting teased for that one!
We ended up drawing a little crowd, so our audience got bigger just in time for the grand finale. My brother changed the music to a swelling instrumental he had planned for this moment. He lit the final fuse and BAM! The first flaming ball (as they were described on the packaging) went high in the sky. BAM! The second flaming ball went in a rainbow arc. I heard my brother yell, “It’s tilting! It’s tilting!” BAM! The next one went completely sideways just missing my cousin’s car. BAM! The next one hit the ground and bounced up onto her car. This was not just one firework, this was a grand finale firework tube with 30 flaming balls set to go off inside!
Everyone was hollering and ducking. My brother ran up and pulled the tube straight only for it to fling itself the other way instead. In the process he had to hurdle it as he almost ended up with his own flaming you-know-what’s. Now the fireworks were blasting straight into the bush and bouncing off the street. My brother then ripped the tube out of the sand bucket and proceeded to try and butt it out on the street like a cigarette. Luckily he found a puddle and got the thing to go out. At that very moment everyone burst out with laughter and I really and truly had to lock my legs so I wouldn’t pee my pants! I haven’t laughed that hard in years! Oh, and yes … my kids were still on Skype!
Home fireworks have come a long way since we were kids. My dad’s face lit up, just like ours used to when he put on the show for us, making this hands-down, the best birthday present. Of course, the other take-away from this experience is to always pack the dirt down firmly around your fireworks so they don’t go sideways!